On the Windward Side of Grace

2 Corinthians 9:8

I have always been grateful for the phrase “turning over a new leaf when thinking about new year’s resolutions. There’s not a new leaf to be found in January. Thankfully, they’re all buried under a blanket of snow, and we’ll not have to worry about turning over any new vegetation until at least March or April!

Like most people, I must confess to a certain reticence when it comes to change. Old routines and habits are comfortable, predictable. The unknown is unnerving, however bright a prospect might seem.

I suppose it’s not so much change that bothers us as the certain dread that comes with something unfamiliar entering our lives. It’s interesting to note the frequency of the phrase “fear not” in the Bible. From Genesis to Revelation, every time you turn over a new leaf of Scripture, it is “Fear not!”

How do we survive the unpredictability of life? The poet lamented, “O God, Thy sea is so great, and my boat is so small!” Perhaps our first step to victory is to recognize the finiteness of our present situation and to place our trust in the reliable and changeless—in God.

When we recognize that it is God who underlies the thoughts and movements and melodies of life, we learn to look at change in a new way. New possibilities, challenges, dreams. Some fresh wind or bright flower, some strain of music before unheard.

If ever there was someone pressed and oppressed by the exigencies of life, it was the Apostle Paul. He not only coped, he triumphed, for he had set his course on a fixed, immovable point—the glory of God whose very nature is victory. Witnessing to that fact, he advised: “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work” (2 Cor. 9:8).

No matter what comes into our lives, we don’t need to wonder about our destination. “O God, Thy sea is so great, and my boat is so small.” Perhaps the writer was not aware that God is in the boat with us. And there lies our victory.

If we’ve set our sails on the windward side of His grace, it is precisely His great sea that will bring us to safety—to a harbor where under each new leaf is some new treasure He has prepared for those who follow Him.

Marlene Chase, The War Cry

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